Friday, October 13, 2006

On Politics 2

But, of course, in another sense, I did 'get' Guido as the latest version of the Westminster soap. Brilliantly done, it has, like many current political blogs, beaten the mainstream press at its own game. And that game is, essentially, tribal.
The other explanation for the political change that happened in the mid-nineties is that it was the inevitable outcome of the end of fundamental ideological conflict signalled by the collapse of communism. Henceforth, politics would be about relatively trivial managerial differences. No Labour Party could get into power by offering massively higher taxes and renationalisation and no Conservative Party could win by offering privatisation of the NHS, welfare cuts and so on.
I used to believe this. But, in fact, it's wrong for the same reason that Francis Fukuyama's End of History argument is wrong. The mere fact that a confrontation between two local, Enlightenment-based, humanist ideologies - communism and capitalism - had ended is, as we have discovered, no reason to assume that history or fundamental conflict is at an end. And it is certainly no reason to assume that politics must, thereafter, be a trivial matter of personalities and management differences.

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